I’m so intrigued by the method described in Anthony Crossley’s book, Training The Young Horse, that I’ve decided to follow its program as described and use Candy as a guinea pig.
The book’s schedule for months 1-3 seems quite reasonable:
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acceptance of the bit
I brought Candy up yesterday and kitted her out appropriately for longeing. I stripped down Moe’s cross-country bridle and put Candy’s loose ring snaffle on it, outfitted her in a hot pink longe cavesson, dug out my ancient Dover surcingle and newly acquired (used) side reins, and put Moe’s cross country boots on her legs. For all that Candy is almost a hand taller than Moe, her petite head and legs fit into his gear much better than Gina’s!
Even though Candy is broke to ride, I’m treating her as the sort of very green baby horse described in the book. Here are Crossley’s instructions for the first day on the longe:
“Our sole purpose on this first day will be to get the horse used to his surroundings in general and to the longe-ring and his gear in particular. We will ask for and expect nothing except that he should walk quietly round the ring-track on the left rein.”
I took Candy to the outdoor arena since a lesson was happening in the indoor. She was just fine- she wanted to stare at the baby horse, his mother, and their miniature horse companions, but was otherwise attentive and eager to please. I kept her on a fairly short rein, with the side reins not clipped to her bit. I occasionally had to ask her to move out away from me, as she wandered in on part of the circle, but she was generally steady and even on the end of the line.
The book advises keeping the horse on the left rein only for the first few days, on a two or three meter circle at the walk. Once the horse has absorbed this lesson, he can be moved to doing the same thing on the right rein. As the book states, “In less than two weeks in all he will be operating obediently in both directions.”
While this seems rather slow, I’m glad to take the time to do it. As I mentioned last week, I don’t do a lot of longe work, so I need the slow timeline as much as Candy does!